Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tex Leg. to Border produce inspectors:Wait while we do another study

Hurry up and wait goes the old saying.  This time, it's the Texas legislature telling that to US Customs inspectorx at Texas' border ports. I guess they figure that there's not enough business at the border to necessitate expediting shipments. Or.....there's some cronies that are about to make some big bucks doing another study......or both.

From The Texas Tribune

Border lawmakers and local officials who had hoped for state money to help train new produce inspectors at border ports and reduce wait times instead got a promise from legislators to study the issue.

Nearly half of all U.S. fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico last year came by way of Texas land ports, including those in Laredo, El Paso and McAllen. As Mexico nears completion this year of highway improvements that will create a quicker route from agriculturally rich areas in the western parts of the country to Texas ports, the already large amount of imported produce is expected to increase dramatically.

Lawmakers and local officials from border communities say the federal government's investment in southern land ports has not kept pace with the expansion of trade. The ports have run out of capacity, and there aren't enough inspectors to examine all the goods coming across. It all adds up, they say, to unpredictable wait times that slow down commerce and leave stalled trucks idling for hours, belching exhaust into the air.

Washington is exploring ways to address the shortage of agriculture specialists who inspect produce at border ports, but state Rep. Bobby Guerra, D-Mission, came into the legislative session with a proposal to address the problem sooner with local resources.

Guerra filed House Bill 3761, which would have used local institutions like the Texas A&M University Kingsville Citrus Center in Weslaco to train produce inspectors to meet federal guidelines. New inspectors, he hoped, would reduce wait times and increase the speed of commerce

Read the entire article, including how Texas lawmakers from other parts of the state opposed this measure and how some shippers/importers are even willing to pay extra to get more inspectors at the various Texas ports.

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